PORT ST. LUCIE — The Indian River State College (IRSC) Department of Military and Veterans Services joins forces with #DoYouGiveARuck? once again for the Freedom Festival & Memorial Ruck, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, at the College’s Pruitt Campus in Port St. Lucie.
A “ruck” is military jargon for hiking while wearing a full backpack. This is the third annual event, which was previously named The Family Fun Ruck. Last year’s event drew around 600 people, organizers said. Veterans will walk a full 3.43-mile ruck to honor the 343 firefighters lost in the World Trade Center on Sept, 11, 2001. A one-mile portion at the end of the ruck is intended for all ages. Participation is free.
In addition to the Ruck, the event features family-friendly activities, live music, food trucks and other vendors including free beer from the Hop Life Brewing Company, K-9 demonstrations by the Port St. Lucie Police Department, raffles, and more. Money raised will pay for college tuition and emergency funds for veterans.
Participants are asked to fill their packs with food, new clothes, baby supplies and hygiene items to be donated to impoverished people in the community. Pack only what you can carry easily for one mile. Wear light clothing, sturdy shoes, and bring bottled water.
“As a veteran of the Global War on Terror, 9-11 is a significant date for many of us,” said Jimmy Jackson, President of Operations for Do You Give a Ruck, Inc. “Every year we try to bring our communities together to celebrate the service of those who decided to answer our nation’s call and to honor or memorialize the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice during 9-11 while attempting to save others.”
Since its inception in 2019, the #DoYouGiveARuck? team has raised and donated more than $236,000 to local veterans programs and collected 30 tons of supplies for the impoverished in the community, Jackson said. A portion of this year’s proceeds will go the IRSC Veterans Center for Excellent and Military and Veterans Services programs.
The ruck is expected to start at around 10 a.m. IRSC’s Pruitt Campus is located at 500 N.W. California Blvd. in Port St. Lucie.
Headquartered in Vero Beach, #DoYouGiveARuck? is a group of military veterans and supporters dedicated to making the lives of veterans better through raising public awareness and fund raising for organizations whose programs and activities support veterans. For more information visit https://www.doyougivearuck.com/